I absolutely love strong drinks from rye. They are good white and they get even better on oak. I have been fiddling around whit 100% unmalted rye mashes with enzymes and they have turned out great. But I wanted to skip the commercial enzymes and have a all in house made drink. So I decided to malt my own rye and make whiskey from it. I will document my experiments and experiences in this post. Part I will concentrate on the malting process, part II on mashing and fermenting and part III on distilling and making cuts.
First of all I bought a bag (50 kg) of unmalted organic rye.
After rinsing the grains with cold water (2-3x times) and picking out the dark ergot infected grains I let them sit under water for approximately 12 hours.
I know that there has been a lot of discussion about ergot of rye and I have made my research and I'm fairly confident that the alkaloids in them wont transfer over during distillation.
European Food Safety Authority - Scientific Opinion on Ergot alkaloids in food and feed
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Grain based hard liquors are of no relevance since ergot alkaloids are non-volatile and will not be transferred to the alcohol fraction during the distillation process.
After 4 days the grains where still a bit under-modified but I was on a tight time schedule and I decided that the time has come to dry them.
I cut open a big trash bag and laid the malted grains on my porch to dry in the sun. Every now and then when I passed by I turned the grains and in 2 days the malt was ready.
In a couple of days I will start mashing and fermenting and add the second part of the post.